Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Donation Update - Almost There!

As of today, just under 80% of the 2-year Rapidshare subscription has been covered by kind donation. As discussed, upon obtaining enough to cover the subscription, the donate button will be removed from the site.

Many thanks for those you who have generously parted with your hard earned cash in the interest of the ageing creature known as music!


Monday 30 July 2012

The Specials Three Late Demos

Again, here's a short collection not new to the net, but possibly lost due to the issues with megaupload.

I have posted these (in mp3 format) for two reasons. Firstly, Why? is one of the best songs that The Specials did and secondly, like The Stranglers, '96 Tears' was one of the worst.

Concerning '96 Tears', as a cult garage anthem of the 1960's it works perfectly and I have no problem with the original ? and the Mysterians version, but the song suited neither The Specials or The Stranglers very well. For the latter, the song seemed to hinge on the beach postcard innuendo line of  'and when the sun comes up, I'll be on top...'. Not their finest moment in my opinion.

'Why?' on the other hand is a very different thing indeed. Based on a real racist attack on guitarist Lynval Golding in 1980 (an incident that was repeated and nearly ended his life a few years later in his home town of Coventry) it is a heartfelt request from a young black man to understand the rationale behind such racially motivated violence.

The released version appeared on the 'Ghost Town' e.p., the 12" version of which is the greatest single ever released, bringing together the title track, 'Why?' and 'Friday Night, Saturday Morning'. Of these demo versions, it is 'Why (Part 2) that is most interesting being quite a variant on the released version.


1. Why? (Part 2)
2. Why? (Dub Version)
3. 96 Tears

The Skids Radio Clyde Session 1st July 2007

Here's on for our Sweaty friends north of the border. The association between The Strangers and The Skids was always (and I believe remains to be) strong.

This is a great session from the reformed Skids, recorded for Radio Clyde, prior to their appearance at the T in the Park festival.

A mixture of tracks and interview material, their is a fair smattering of hits here, as well as a wonderful updated take on 'TV Stars'.

Quality is great, do enjoy!

FLAC: On its way!





Artwork in pdf form is included in the download file.

Sunday 29 July 2012

Move Festival Manchester 8th July 2004

As promised here is another MkIII gig, a festival set from Manchester's 2004 Move Festival.



01. Norfolk Coast
02. Skin Deep
03. Big Thing Coming
04. Peaches
05. I Don’t Agree
06. All Day And All Of The Night
07. Always The Sun
08. Long Black Veil
09. Golden Brown
10. Mine All Mine
11. Duchess
12. Lost Control
13. I’ve Been Wild
14. Grip
15. Tank

Danny Boyle OBE?

So did we all watch the opening ceremony of these here Games?

Now I am a cynical sod and to be honest, the most enjoyable aspect of the build up has been watching the brilliant '2012'. Even more so, I enjoyed the apparent transition of 2012 from comedy to prophesy! Korean flag gaffs (and let's face it, if there is a nation in the world that you do not want to offend in this way it is North Korea), officials getting lost on route from Heathrow and Jeremy CHunt nearly taking the head off a member of the public with his bell. I love it all! And it was for this reason my expectations were not high. I had after all witnessed Boris wrestling with the flag at the Beijing closing ceremony!

I really did not know what to expect, and a 'field' full of sheep and shire horses concerned me somewhat. But what was to follow I have to say left me feeling rather ashamed of myself.

The transition of 'this green and pleasant land' to the scarred landscape of fire and smoke that the Industrial Revolution brought with it was so well done and as for the raising of the forged rings well....

The focus of the night was spot on.... music (surely one of Britain's most important exports and over 40 years later (in terms of popular music) an area where we are still not bettered), children's literature and key for me .. humour.

I cannot recall any such ceremonies in the past where the intention in the middle of all the spectacle is to laugh.

I can take or leave Rowan Atkinson, but his part was brilliant and his face at least will be familiar to millions of people world-wide who were looking on.

And then there was the Queen's contribution, which I thought was exceptionally well done and it was these elements in particular that made this a stunning and varied spectacle.

The only downside was Paul McCartney who lumbered through a version of 'Hey Jude' at the end in something of an anticlimax. I noted that Team GB came on to 'Heroes', so where was Big Dave on the night? He could have sung that live as they come in.... no need then for Paul.

So that's all good.

Saturday 28 July 2012

Mk II & Mk III Recordings

Hands up, my collection contains gaps that correlate with my disillusionment with the direction that the band were going in in the 1990's. However, with this site, I am now in for the long haul (at least another two years) and I would like to make this site representative of all phases of the band's long career and that means that I want to put up more gigs from the 1991 to 2006 period (even if they don't float my boat).

There are a lot of people out there who do greatly appreciate what the band were doing in this period, which I fully respect and want to reflect on Auralsculptors. Therefore, please can I ask you to suggest what you would like to see on here from that time and I will do my best to lay my hands on any requested recordings.

Alternatively, if you are of a proactive bent with an interest in the Roberts years and you yourselves are in possession of material that you think others would appreciate please get in touch. We can sort something out, be it an exchange of tapes, CDs or electronic file transfers, whatever).



The Royal Hanley, 7th November 1998

Whilst looking around the site, I noticed that The Stranglers are not yet represented in 1998. So to put that right, here's a recording of the band on the 'Coup De Grace' tour of that year.

I saw them at The Corn Exchange in Cambridge on this tour (first time as a headline act for 5 years or so) and it wasn't for me. This was to my mind the band at their lowest ebb. I can happily say that now that they have successfully reestablished themselves over the past few years as a vital musical force once again.

So here it is....



1. God Is Good
2. Coup De Grace
3. Skin Deep
4. Money
5. Golden Boy
6. Nice 'N' Sleazy
7. Thrown Away
8. Sinister
9. The Raven
10. In The End
11. Toiler On The Sea
12. Tonight
13. Always The Sun
14. Valley Of The Birds
15. 96 Tears
16. Straighten Out
17. Brainbox
18. All Day And All Of The Night
19. Duchess
20. Five Minutes
21. Hanging Around

Reading Festival 26th August 1983

JJ Burnel
Reading Festival
26th August 1983
Following on from a thread on the Burning Up Time Forum which discussed this gig, here is the full set recording (as opposed to the edited radio broadcast).


1. Intro
2. Nuclear Device
3. Toiler On The Sea
4. Ships That Pass In The Night
5. It's A Small World
6. No More Heroes
7. Who Wants The World
8. Never Say Goodbye
9. Golden Brown

1. Midnight Summer Dream
2. European Female
3. Thrown Away
4. Tramp
5. The Raven
6. Duchess
7. London Lady
8. Down In The Sewer
9. Bring On The Nubiles
10. Genetix

Full artwork here:

Reading Festival 1987 Link Updated

JJ Burnel
Reading Festival Sunday 30th August 1987

A new rapidshare link has been added here to the full audience set and FM Radio broadcast of the band's appearance at the Reading Festival on 30th August 1987.

The Fulham Transworld Sessions 1974/75 – The Start of Something Special

Back when I started acquiring unofficial recordings of the band, the tracks detailed here represented the Holy Grail to new and seasoned bootleg enthusiasts alike.

At the time that these recordings entered into a limited circulation there was quite some controversy as to how they had been acquired. I first heard two tracks, namely ‘Wasted’ and ‘Strange Little Girl’ on what I believe to have been a recording of a Dutch radio broadcast.

These versions of the tracks, appeared on a link posted on the Burning Up Time Forum (thanks Eric2Vini), but now lost with the clampdown on Megaupload.  They had undergone some degree of processing to clean up the sound. As such these are the best versions that I have heard to date. Other tracks are included on this recording, but I have left the download intact for the sake of the artwork that is included in the folder.

As songs, they are well constructed compositions (although I am no musician), but they do lack something of the signature sound that the band were to develop later in the same year (listen to ‘Princess of the Streets’ from the NOB gig of late ’75). Perhaps ‘Wasted’ has elements of what was on the musical horizon for the band, a sound that placed them well in position for ‘Year Zero’. Nevertheless, whilst this little collection may not trigger the ‘pogo reflex’, they are priceless to a Stranglers nerd like myself in that they allow an insight into the development of the band as they scaled the ladder within the London-based pub rock circuit. By the way, listen to the harmonica on 'Make You Mine' and tell me you can't hear Dr Feelgood!

Notable tracks here, as well as ‘Wasted’ are 'Charlie Boy' (written about our friend Garry Coward-Williams), ‘Strange Little Girl’ (always a personal favourite of mine) and ‘My Young Dreams’ which Jet resurrected in 1985.

I did suggest in the run up to last year’s Convention that a short set of these songs would have been the perfect accompaniment to Garry’s unique photographic and anecdotal presentation on the band in those formative years. Alas, it was not to be, I suppose as some of the material is unreleased, licencing would become a barrier to live performance. A shame though as I think that each of these songs deserve at least one more airing on the stage. Old warhorses like these deserve a good send off!



1-Charlie Boy
2-I Know It
3-Appreciate (Make You Mine)
4-Chinatown (Instrumental)
demos recorded on a 8 tracks at Transworld Studios, Fulham, London, Autumn 1974.

5-Strange Little Girl (Take 1)
7-My Young Dreams
8-My Young Dreams (New Mix)
9-Strange Little Girl (Take 2)
10-Strange Little Girl (Take 3)
demos recorded on a 16 tracks at Transworld Studios, Fulham,London, October 1975.

11-Cruel Garden
12-Midnight Summer Dream
14-Strange Little Girl
rehearsals at Jet's house, 1982.

15-Shaking Like A Leaf
16-Punch & Judy
17-Down In A Sewer
rehearsals sessions for Aural Sculpture Tour 1985, England.

Artwork is included in the download folder.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Lovely Days Festivel Sankt Polten, Austria 21st July 2006

Jet Black
Lovely Days Festival, Sankt Polten
21st July 2006

It's hard to think that six years have now passed since the last big change in the Stranglers' camp. Here is a very good recording of one of the earliest Mk IV performances in Lower Austria.


Baz Warne
Lovely Days Festival, Sankt Polten
21st July 2006

JJ Burnel
Lovely Days Festival, Sankt Polten
21st July 2006

Sunday 22 July 2012

New Stephen Beaumont Artwork on Ebay

I have recently had an email exchange with Stephen Beaumont, long time Strangled 'Artist In Residence' as he was selling some prints of some caricatures that had not made it into the hallowed pages of Strangled (included in the slide show). He told me that he has produced a new caricature (above).

In his own words, ' I haven't drawn The Stranglers in 26years, so I thought I'd have a go......I don't draw like I used to back in '86 any more but I tried to match the style best I could. Cheers Steve.'

I think it's pretty spot on!

Capital Radio Session Autumn 1977

JJ Burnel 1977

Here's a nice early session that the band did around the release of the 'No More Heroes' album for London based Capital Radio.

1. Dagenham Dave
2. Goodbye Toulouse
3. Hanging Around
4. I Feel Like A Wog
5. No More Heroes

Saturday 21 July 2012

Donation Update

37% of the Rapidshare subscription that will ensure the integrity of this site for the next two years has been covered so far by donation. I would like to thank those that have contributed for their generosity!

Bath Pavilion 18th August 1980

This one's for Phil Coxon, who has prepared and posted another one of his excellent tour diaries on the official site. Here's the link. Thanks Phil for your recollections of the 'Who Wants The World?' Tour.

He was at this gig, so maybe he can remember just why it was that 'Sewer' was cut short. The band pull up in the middle of the song and judging by the reaction of the audience, it was in response to some incident. The other notable point about this set is that it features a rare inclusion of 'Four Horsemen'.



Full artwork here:

The Newtown Neurotics Brixton 7th April 1983

The Newtown Neurotics

Here's something non-Stranglers related. This band were hugely influential for me. This recording from an unknown Brixton venue (but in all likelihood the Fridge) is from mid '83, approximately 12 months before the band came to my attention. In 1984 the Miner's Strike was the top story on the evening news 9 nights out of 10. Coverage became even heavier as the strike progressed and the strike became much more than an industrial dispute as it entered the grounds of a battle of political ideologies.

And so it was that the likes of The Newtown Neurotics made me start thinking about politics and my own principles and convictions (these political awakenings were helped along by a weekly dose of latex political satire that went under the name of 'Spitting Image'. Such was the power of that show that for the only time before and after were the names of not only The Cabinet, but also the Shadow Cabinet, fully familiar to nearly every teenager in the land!).

'Kick Our The Tories'
Newtown Neurotics

So here it is, a short good quality set of intellegent political punk from Harlow, Essex,


1. Wake Up
2. Hypocrite
3. Fools
4. Agony
5. Mindless Violence
6. Newtown People
7. Does Anyone Know Where The March Is?
8. My Death
9. The Mess
10. Kick Out The Tories
11. Living With Unemployment

Ole Man Rivers, New Orleans 20th April 1981

Here's a good quality recording from US leg of The Meninblack Tour.


01. Intro
02. Threatened
03. The Raven
04. Toiler On The Sea
05. Just Like Nothing On Earth
06. Thrown Away
07. Who Wants The World?
08. Baroque Bordello
09. Second Coming
10. Meninblack
11. Shah Shah A Go Go
12. Hallow To Our Men
13. Tank
14. Nuclear Device/Genetix
15. Down In The Sewer

Artwork here:

The O2 Academy Glasgow 3rd March 2012

My primary objective on this early spring evening in Glasgow was to get through the whole set. For some reason on the bands last date in the city I was ejected from the venue. It wasn’t my fault, honest gov’nor! No names, but the responsible person knows who he is.

On this occasion, again at the Academy, I paced myself. On this night it appears that I successfully passed on the drunken batton to Phil Coxon (who only made it through a couple of songs before being escorted home!). Good work Phil!!

This was a quiet gig by Glasgow standards and whilst enjoyable, the previous night’s performance in Dunfermline (at the wonderful Alhambra) was better. I’m never really one to complain about the set (a Stranglers set is a Stranglers set after all), but on this tour the selections did not, in my opinion, match JJ’s assertions that this was one of their most adventurous sets in several tours. Nevertheless, for me an undoubtable tour highlight was ‘Hey! (Rise Of The Robots)’ (very tight after being nailed for the Convention Black & White set).

JJ at Glasgow O2 Academy, 3rd March 2012
(Thanks to Alias for the photos)



Monday 16 July 2012

Palace D'Hiver, Lyon 27th February 1983

The Stranglers In Lyon 1983

Luckily for 'ole Lyon, this city palyed host to the band twice in the course of 1983.

Here is their first appearance, posted at the request of Christian in France. A good quality, full set show.



1. Intro
2. Nuclear Device/Toiler On The Sea
3. Ships That Pass In The Night
4. Its A Small World
5. Just Like Nothing On Earth
6. No More Heroes
7. Who Wants The World
8. Never Say Goodbye
9. Baroque Bordello
10. Golden Brown
11. Princess Of The Streets
1. Midnight Summer Dream/European Female
2. Tramp
3. The Raven
4. Duchess
5. London Lady
6. Hugh Speaks
7. La Folie
8. Genetix

Saturday 14 July 2012

Malcolm Owen - 32 Years Gone

Malcolm Owen R.I.P.

Today marks the 32nd anniversary of the death of Malcolm Owen, lead singer of The Ruts.

Back in 1980, Malcolm's demise at the mere age of 26 passed me by without knowledge or understanding. I was 11 years old and didn't even know who The Ruts were. It was a few years later that the band entered my life. From what I recall, a mate taped 'The Crack' for me in about '84. It must have been 1984 because I remember alternating much of my 'O' level mocks revision between 'Machine Gun Ettiquette' and 'The Crack' which were on opposite sides of the same C90.

It was only when I went to Brunel in Uxbridge in 1988 that I met some mates in the area that The Ruts became much more important on my musical horizon. In this period I lived both in Hayes and Southall, two areas steeped in Ruts history. Of this my mates were justifiably proud!

The Ruts never had the breaks that they deserved. The plaudits for almalgamating punk and reggae always went (and continue) to go to The Clash, but The Ruts did it better without half as much fuss.

Here's an audio recording of the band in Paris a few months before Malcolm died.

A little later the tragic death of Malcolm was the subject of a short documentary which makes interesting and poignant viewing.

To finish, I can thing of no better tribute to the incandescent talent that was Malcolm Owen than The Damned's 'Limit Club' written for Malcolm in 1981.

'The Limit Club'
The Damned
Leamington Spa 2010

To Pay Or Not To Pay, That Is The Question

On 4th July, this site passed its first anniversary and seems to have been quite successful, not just in terms of site visits (which massively exceeded my expectations when I started) and in the number of downloads that have been snatched in that time from the site. In this respect, I think that I have achieved my aim of bringing the music of The Stranglers to a wider audience as the site statistics indicate a very widely dispersed audience.

Now that the furore over Megaupload seems to have subsided and hopefully the other file sharing sites have done enough to persuade the powers that be that their intentions are nothing but noble, the environment for fan blogs like this may also be a little more secure.

This being the case, and in order to ensure that availability of these files for as long as possible, I have invested in a 2 year subscription to Rapidshare. At this point, whilst a significant (€99.90) investment has been made, I think that this is the best way forward for the site.

It is for this reason that I have deliberated long and hard over adding a Paypal donation button to the site. In doing so, I am only interested in covering the cost of the Rapidshare subscription.

Should you wish to make a contribution to cover this charge, then please do so (button appears at the bottom of the page), but understand that there is no obligation here, the site will continue regardless. It is entirely up to you. When, and if, the cost of the subscription is achieved, I will remove the button as this is not in any way, shape or form, intended to be a site that makes any money.

Thanks for your continued support of the site.


Teatro Tenta, Bologna 9th October 1983

Here's one from Europe, recorded as part of the massive 'Feline' tour. I have posted this at the request of Davide (and his Dad, who was in the crowd for ths gig).



1. Intro
2. Down In The Sewer
3. Toiler On The Sea
4. Ships That Pass In The Night
5. Its A Small World
6. No More Heroes
7. Who Wants The World
8. Never Say Goodbye
9. Golden Brown
10. Midnight Summer Dream
11. European Female
12. The Raven
13. Five Minutes
14. Tank
15. London Lady
16. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)/Bring On The Nubiles
17. Hanging Around

Tuesday 10 July 2012

The Palace and The Punks by Tony Hill

This book has been mentioned in the past on the Burning Up Time Forum. Since my job involves quite a bit of travelling, I invested in a kindle and thus it was that this book set me back a pound or so.

Telling the story of The Grey Topper pub in Jacksdale, Nottinghamshire in it's various incarnations over the past 50 years or so, this project was clearly a labour of love for the author, even more so when you consider that like me he was just that little bit too young to attend the gigs described in its pages! To look back and to know that those bands, notably The Ruts, Members and Subs played just down the road in your village woud really rankle.

The Stranglers are featured, hence the Forum connection, with a contribution from Jet, as they played at the venue in their early days, before the success of Rattus took them away from pub gigs. Jet talks of those early 'ice cream' years and of the band's appearance at this properly off the beaten track venue.

This book is a great little piece of highly personal, social history of which we should see more. Underlying the music is the spectre of the early years of the Thatcher administration that was ultimately to call time of the mining communities of Nottinghamshire and everywhere else for that matter. The stories of many 'punk critical' venues are well documented both in print and on-line, but for every Roxy and Marquee, there were a hundred unsung pubs, clubs, cinemas and dives that each played their own part in the punk wars and perhaps none are more important than those out of the way venues that created and maintained a scene many miles away from the large towns and cities that regularly featured in tour schedules.

I would recommend it very highly to anyone with a passing interest in the history of the late '70's UK punk scene.

The author's web site has more information.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Palma Palasport, Italy 3rd July 1980

This was intended to be an anniversary recording, but for reasons described below I have been delayed in posting this one. Nevertheless, here it is and a big thank you to Dom P for providing me with a replacement copy of this one.

Good sound, with a few cuts, but highly representative of the band at this point in time. This was recorded in the week following the band's release from jail in Nice.



1. Shah Shah A Go Go
2. Ice
3. Toiler On The Sea
4. Duchess
5. Hanging Around
6. Baroque Bordello
7. Waiting For The Meninblack
8. Down In The Sewer
9. Who Wants The World
10. Thrown Away
11. I Feel Like A Wog
12. Tank
13. Nuclear Device
14. Genetix
15. Hallow To Our Men
16. The Raven
17. Five Minutes

Lossless Recordings

Given my recent experiences with a proportion of my collection and knowing how passionately the debate concerning lossless and mp3 upload formats continues in on-line music sharing circles I plan a slight change to the way in which I continue to upload.

Going forward each upload will be made in two formats:

Good Quality MP3 (192 kbps) - for those that wish to transfer straight to devices
Lossless FLAC Level 8 - for the audiophiles and the anal collectors!

To date I have only posted retained lossless format where specifically requested to do so by the original uploaders, I think that where known, this preference should be honoured. Other posts have been in highest quality 320 kbps. In order to speed up the process a little, as indicated the MP3 files will remain high quality but at 192 kbps.

The choice is then yours.



Tuesday 3 July 2012

Calamity For A Collector!!

Whilst looking through the collection for a couple of anniversary gigs this week, prior to ripping the discs in preparation for the upload, I did my customary check to remind myself of the recording quality to ensure that the upload warranted the effort of an upload. On doing so I noticed that the sound quality had deteriorated on the couple of discs that I had selected. Horror of horrors!!

This deterioration is, I think, down to the use of disc labels that I was previously applying before investing in a printer with the capability to print directly on to the CD surface. The discs I have used have always been of decent quality.

I anticipate that I will have quite a few affected recordings pre-dating the switch to direct printing. In this time of 'collector anxiety' I will put up an additional page (with the other pages listing available recordings that appear on the right hand side of this blog) detailing those recordings that I have confirmed to have been damaged.

If any of you kind souls have good copies of any of those listed and if you have the time, inclination and computer savvy to do so, I would be mightily grateful to receive download links for lossless versions of these gigs (FLAC format is great).

I will of course continue to upload as normal, but some gigs will be out of bounds until I get replacements.

Thanks in advance for your help.

The Ruts Cardiff University 16th December 1979

This is a great gig, and from my searches it appears to be quite rare. I assume that this recording is incomplete (over and above the fact that 'Babylon's Burning' is cut). At this late stage in their sadly short career, this would have been a headline gig.

From the sound of it the audience are quite hostile, very Welsh and not enamoured with the 'cockney' Ruts and the gig does not appear to be trouble free, it seems that there is a contingent of NF skinheads in on the night.... I may be wrong.

Malcolm on top form.... see what you think.

1. Savage Circle
2. I Ain't Sophisticated
3. SUS
4. H-Eyes
5. Criminal Mind
6. Something That I said
7. Dope For Guns
8. Jah War
9. Babylon's Burning

Sunday 1 July 2012

Hugh Cornwell Bristol 21st November 1998

Here's a good quality audience recording of Hugh in Bristol on 21st November 1998. Sorry, venue unknown - any ideas?

1. Grip
2. All The Colours Of The Rainbow
3. Nerves Of Steel
4. Black Hair Black Eyes Black Suit
5. House Of Sorrow
6. Strange Little Girl
7. The Big Sleep
8. The Story Of He And She
9. Goodbye Toulouse
10. Lay Back On Me Pal
11. Decadence
12. Wired
13. Hanging Around
14. Who When And Where
15. Long Dead Train
16. Snapper
17. Always The Sun